Republican politician is trying to ban gender-affirming medical treatment and anti-depressants for trans kids

Lily Wakefield November 26, 2019
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(Anatoliy Cherkasov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

A Republican politician in South Carolina has proposed a bill that would ban gender-affirming medical treatment for trans kids under the age of 18, and would even ban medical treatment for mental health problems associated with gender dysphoria.

The bill, titled “Youth Gender Reassignment Prevention Act” and proposed by Republican politician Stewart Jones, would stop medical professionals from helping trans kids affirm their gender, for example puberty blockers or any medical intervention “to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity”.

Puberty blockers can temporarily prevent the development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as an Adam’s apple or facial hair.

They are critical in reducing the significant risks of self-harm and suicide in transgender teens, and mean they can potentially avoid some gender-affirming surgeries later in life.

Then, left without gender-affirming medical care, the bill could also stop trans kids in South Carolina accessing medical interventions like anti-depressants to help them deal with the distress caused by their dysphoria.

Research released this month by The Trevor Project showed that three in ten young trans and non-binary people have attempted suicide, and more than half have considered it.

Director of research for The Trevor Project Dr Amy E Green said: “Transgender and non-binary youth may face a range of unique stressors associated with their adolescent development as well as increased experiences of internalised stigma, discrimination, and rejection from others.”

The proposed bill even admits the distress caused to children by dysphoria, stating that it would ban “interventions to alleviate symptoms of clinically significant distress resulting from gender dysphoria”.

In response to similar bills in other states, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) said in a statement earlier this month:  “State-based legislation regarding the treatment of transgender youth that directly oppose the evidence-based care recognised by professional societies across multiple disciplines is a serious concern.

“These interventions may include, and are not limited to, social gender transition, hormone blocking agents, hormone treatment, and affirmative psychotherapeutic modalities.

“AACAP strongly opposes any efforts – legal, legislative, and otherwise – to block access to these recognised interventions.

“Blocking access to timely care has been shown to increase youths’ risk for suicidal ideation and other negative mental health outcomes.”

Related topics: anti-depressants, gender-affirming, mental health, Republican, South Carolina, trans kids

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